Thursday, July 23, 2015
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
No, not me. I'm still an absent blogger.
But I did want to mention that the missing tutorials, etc. are back. I think I've fixed everything but if you find a missing image, link, whatever, please do let me know so I can fix it.
I really haven't been sewing much. OK, at all. Although I did start a project this past Sunday. We'll see how that goes. I also may have signed up for Netflix and binge-watched Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. I'm hoping now that the seasons have changed my sewjo will come back around.
In the meantime, the biggest “news” is that while on my way back from my visit to see the Marine in SC two weekends ago, I hit a really big something on the Interstate (I'm thinking piece of semi truck tire but it was dark and rainy so who really knows) and wrecked my car. The wreck wasn't too bad, as far as direct front-end collisions go. No one was hurt at all, and I was still close enough to Tyler that I got two more days' visit out of it while my car made its way to the body shop and adjuster. But it had to stay in SC for repairs and I had to get back to Florida to work.
My car is fixed (yay! I miss it very much and while it's good I have a rental, said rental is craptastic) so I'm heading back to SC after work tomorrow for a post-midnight arrival. Tyler and I will meet up again for a Thursday-Friday visit and then I'll head home sometime Friday afternoon. I kind of want to drive back in daylight this time, just in case. There's a Blue Angels airshow at his base this weekend, which would be fun to see, but it means there are no hotel rooms to be had so staying through the weekend isn't an option. Plus, we may be kind of sick of each other by this point. Hahaha. Just kidding. I love you Tyler.
We visited boot camp at Parris Island which is just 10 minutes away from Tyler's base. That was fun for both of us. If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that I was sick as a dog when Tyler graduated boot camp 4+ years ago so my memory of that first visit was very fuzzy. And now that he's a sergeant, most of the Drill Instructors don't even outrank him so he strutted around this time like ... well. a sergeant. Hah. Perspective is everything.
We even got to see the Marine Corps Band and Silent Drill Platoon back in Beaufort (Tyler's base). We still don't know why they were there, but they were and we had seats. OoRah!
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Checking in with some updates on me and the blog ...
I 'm good , but I have not been sewing. Obviously. Well, not anything worthy of keeping or blogging about. I've had a slew of wadders and the sewjo took a hike.
I've also been doing some social things with friends the last few weekends, which also cuts into the sewing time. Good for me. Bad for the blog.
And, finally, I've been working on restoring the missing photos around the blog. I've still got a long way to go, but the Coverstitch Stuff is back. The Fly Zipper tute is
next also done. I've decided NOT to keep up a separate website/domain and to put everything on the blog so it doesn't take a hike again. It's very slow going but eventually it will all be here. The hardest part was rounding up all the photos from my prior computer and getting them onto a thumb drive to grab from the laptop. That part has been done. Gah ... I really miss my old computer. It still runs Win2K hahahaha!
So that's about it.
In the meantime, I have a new phone finally (LOVING it!) and I'm on Instagram. Find me @stitchesandseamsdeb.
Posted by ME around 9:14 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2015
It's done. I really hope whatever my next project is turns out to be something I like better than the last few. I don't dislike this jacket but the fabric is not going to hold up or be washable and it's actually pretty darn warm, which means it won't get worn a whole lot here in Florida. Plus, the zipper isn't really correct (it's a 2-say separating zip) and it gets caught every time I zip it. There's really no taming the chenille next to the zipper teeth.
When I first made/hacked this pattern, I added a back yoke and CB seam. I decided to keep these when I was retracing smaller.Yeah, you can't see them at all and what you can see looks all off-grain. It's not, though, which you'll see below in the inside shots.
I had thoughts to line this and even cut a lining. But I decided I didn't want to fight with the chenille anymore and besides being a warm layer already, the black inside looks and feels OK without a lining.
I serged most seams with black thread but left the CB seam flat and just serged the raw edges of the seam allowances separately. I also stitched down the back facing. All stitching just sinks right into the chenille so you can't see from the right side that the facing is sewn down.
Here's a closer shot of the back side of the fabric. It's just strange stuff but it definitely feels nice and snuggly.
I skipped the zippered welt pockets. I was already fighting with the main zipper and the chenille and I didn't want to make pockets I'd be fighting with. Instead I added simple patch pockets, which you have to squint very hard to even see in the photo below. I like that they're mostly invisible but still there to hold key cards or my phone.
A wearable muslin, for sure, and at least know I know the new size and minor adjustments fit. I think I'll make this again soon with stretch denim. I really do like the pattern and I do need things for weekends and casual Fridays. A leather version of this or the Style Arc Ziggy or the new Islander moto jacket are still on the must-make list but further down the road. I think I need to hit a thrift store for some leather something to practice with.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Zillie (my dressform) holds my in-progress, or in this case, stalled projects. I liked this fabric because it's all of my colors and a little sparkly too. But it's been in the stash for YEARS and so I'm not entirely sad to be tossing it. A little sad, yes, but onward and upward.
This is the pattern. The problems are there in the photo, if only I had paid more attention. But I wanted to try a different silhouette than my usual. Yeah, no. There is just way too much fullness and fabric at belly and below. Camouflage is one thing. Ridiculous added volume is another. Plus the way the print "landed" is also unfortunate.
From the side ... can you see how much width this thing adds? Would make an awesome maternity tent. ;-) Needless to say, I won't be finishing this one. And you won't be able to convince me otherwise.
Next up is KS 3764.
I'll be finishing this one, if only as a wearable muslin until the fabric disintegrates. Which, I'm guessing, won't be too long from now. This is also years-old stash, bought from a co-op. I think it's really cheap upholstery fabric. It's not a knit. Just a bunch of chenille on an open-weave kind of backing. Weird stuff. And I have purple too.
But the last time I made this KS pattern, I hacked it to make a RTW knock-off and I was much bigger than I am now so I had to trace smaller and start somewhere. Cheap upholstery fabric is as good a place to start as any.
It will be OK as a muslin. I really would like to make a leather moto jacket sometime soonish (like before 2016?), but I have no idea where to get good leather or how many hides I'd need, etc., etc. so that project will be a while before I even start. And then bright, shiny will likely distract me for a while along the way too. Maybe I can get Peter to shop leather for me??
I'm planning to finish the jacket this weekend and hopefully make something else that I actually like. The week whoooooshed by with the Monday holiday and I'm happy to be heading into another weekend. Maybe I'll even get through a few things on my list.
Thanks for all the very nice comments on my last post about the sneaky way to fix a gaping neckline. I'm not brilliant, though ... just doggedly determined not to surrender. Hah.
A few personal notes ...
The job is still going splendidly. I really like my workgroup and what we're doing. No, it's not a creative design job but the money is the same and it's 100% stress/drama-free. At this stage in my life, that's much more important. I can be creative on my own time, right?
I've started looking for a new place for Alex and me to live. I love my city neighborhood and my 7-minute commute but this house and my landlord have major problems that can't be solved by me. I'm not in a hurry this time, so it may be months before anything actually happens on that front. But if you hear of any great Tampa rentals, let me know.
Not sure I mentioned it earlier, but the Marine was promoted to Sergeant. He's doing well but looking forward to getting out in 3 years. He has other life plans and wants to get at them. At least he's now only 6 hours away so we'll see each other more often between now and then.
I'm also now a quasi-grandma. My stepson and his girlfriend had a baby boy last week. Alex is beyond thrilled about being an uncle. I'm hoping to see them all soon. They live on the other side of Florida, about 3 hours away. I just need to figure out dog care. Alex's dad will be coming from VA to meet his grandson in a couple of weeks and Alex will drive over then to see them all.
And that about rounds out what I've been up to. And, Susanna, I haven't forgot you. Just slow-going around here.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
So you've just sewn your knit neckline/neckband carefully and correctly and STILL end up with The Gapes, like this:
And then you end up with a big case of The Mehs when you had such high hopes for a cute top/dress using that pretty fabric you just bought (or sacrificed from the stash).
Well first, stop beating yourself up. It happens to all of us and doesn't make you a sewing failure. Sometimes bad things just happen to good fabric and/or techniques. Next, get yourself some elastic thread, like this:
And a big-eyed, blunt-end needlepoint needle, like this (the blunt end is important so you don't snag the fabric and make a difficult task of threading the elastic through):
Cut a LONG piece of the elastic thread, roughly 2-1/2 times the length of the neckline area you need to fix, stretch it a couple of times, and thread your needle with it. Then, push the needle under the stitching that's holding down the neckline/neckband, starting at one shoulder seam.
Make sure you get the needle up into the space above the stitches, like threading elastic through a casing (which is pretty much exactly what this will end up as). Work the needle/elastic through the whole length of the gaping area and leave a long tail on the end you started from (this is why you need to use a long length of elastic).
Push the needle out at the back of the other shoulder seam and into/through the serger stitches (or seam allowances if you haven't serged) of the shoulder seam, and ...
... tie a knot. Make sure your knot is behind the shoulder seam, since you've pressed those to the back (right?) and want any elastic tension to pull toward the back.
Next, go back to that long elastic tail you left at the beginning and pull the elastic taut enough to cause rippling but not enough to create actual gathers. The neckline isn't going to lay flat now, but that's OK because it *will* lay flat on you.
And tie it off at the starting shoulder seam, again behind the actual seam. (If you leave your needle threaded while you do this, getting through the loops of the knot is easier.) Finally, unthread the needle and trim your thread tails.
Now be happy again because your new top/dress with that fabric you can't believe you just "wasted" is now a keeper! Look Ma! No gapes and ...
... no gathering.
I won't tell anyone if you won't. ;-)
This little fix works for front necklines/neckbands too. Just run your elastic through the front instead of the back and make your knots in front of the shoulder seams. If you need to fix back AND front, do it in two steps, using two lengths of elastic (or 3, if you have a vee or wrap neck) so you can keep the "drawing up" effect of the elastic separate, which will work better than one long piece of elastic thread doing all the work in different locations.
You're welcome. :-)
Saturday, January 10, 2015
I sewed up this
The other part of the "meh" is because apparently *I* was on crack when I was sewing up the Jalie top. A top, mind you, that I have made 6 squillion times. Let me tell you, it makes a HUGE difference if you sew RS together where the gathers flip over instead of WS together. Heh. It took me nearly a whole day to figure out why the flip-over wasn't working and where I had gone wrong. (Note: When all else fails, READ the feckin' instructions!) Once I got out the seam ripper and re-sewed correctly, things worked out fine. But what an idiot moment I had.
Plus, the neckband, sewed on with my coverstitcher and a binder, isn't snug against my back neck, which never happens with my binders. Until now apparently. I'll fix that with some elastic thread threaded through the backside stitching, once I pick it up from Hancock's. I just covered it up with a cardi in the meantime. I won't tell if you won't.
Love the skirt though. I used the Simplicity KA pattern above, which is a semi-circle skirt for wovens and calls for a zipper. I omitted the zipper because knit. And I also took off 2" from each side seam of the smallest size in the envelope, 20 (for a total of 8", if you're counting), because, again, knit. I didn't just do this willy-nilly ... I have a couple of semi-circle RTW knit skirts I was
I know the skirt will get lots of wear since I love the shape and black/white is almost a neutral. I think I'll make it again in another knit too because it's fun to wear flippy, girly skirts. I also think I'll like the top better after a few small adjustments ... namely, the back neckband, and maybe shortening it another inch and also sewing the sideseams a little tighter.
I've also sewed up a "muslin" of the Burda WOF casual pants I showed a couple of posts back, and am now trying to decide what fabric to get for a final pair, plus matching jacket. I thought a nice ponte would work, but now I'm second-guessing. My "muslin" was a NOT-nice ponte (also from crack-tastic Fabric.com in the same shipment) which was not supposed to be muslin fabric but it was way too polyestery/shiny to be taken seriously. I could have sent it back but I decided I did need to muslin since I haven't sewn pants in years (yikes) and it's probably a good thing I did because I do need to make a few adjustments. All of that was just a long-winded way to say that while the project is definitely still in the queue, it's stalled at the moment.
I'll get into the sewing room this weekend around football playoffs, but I may encounter analysis paralysis since I have a lot of things I want to make and no idea where to start. Hopefully, I'll come out with something. I just don't know what that something is yet.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
As you probably already know, the lovely Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow is again hosting the Top 5 series, aka The Yearly Roundup. (Click on that link to Gillian's blog to see the other bloggers participating and don't forget to include a link to yourself if you recapped. I noticed more than a few blog links missing.) It took me a LOT of time last year to pull everything together so I almost didn't want to do it again this year but I always enjoy everyone else's round-ups/reflections, so ....
The good news is that compiling this 2014 recap was actually easier than I was anticipating. The bad news is that's because my sewing output for 2014 SUCKED. Hah. But I completely understand why and it's not really that big of a deal ... now.
Before I get to the sewing, my biggest "miss," as I'm sure you can all guess, was unexpectedly losing my job this past April and in the middle of a house move, and my biggest "hit" was finally becoming a permanent, salaried employee at my current job. This job and the last are, as they say, as different as night and day and it's so easy to see that everything happens for a reason, well, at least when you're viewing the reason from your rear-view mirror. :-) I like this job and my coworkers very much and the firm treats us all very well. Yay me for hanging in there through it all (and Yay! for your support), but I have to say that I HATE being poor (who doesn't?) and I'm so glad to be past that speed bump. I've learned that nothing is forever, and I really hope that I get to be the chooser of any job changes from now on. But since I have no crystal ball, I will be once again building up the savings account. Cuz you just never know.
So onto the sewing stuff. I went through my 2015 blog posts and pulled photos in no real order of what I made during the year. It's funny how the "misses" coincide with job/situational unhappiness and once I was settled in here at the new job, I made more keepers.
I still like this SBCC Mimosa top and hate to tag it as a "miss," but the truth is it doesn't get worn
|SBCC Mimosa - original blog post here|
|Pattern Mix/Hack - original blog post here|
|McCall's 6752 - original blog post here|
|KS4026/Broke Woman's Myrtle - original blog post here|
|Jalie cardi hack - original blog post here|
This dress I wear. All. The. Time. Since these pics were taken, I shortened it to hit at my knee instead of below it. It works for both summer and winter. I need 10 more.Think anyone will notice?
|Muse Gillian - original blog post here|
|Muse Jenna #1 and KS 2759 - original blog post here|
|Muse Jenna #2 and Carolyn Skirt (B4877) - original blog post here|
|HP Uptown/Downtown - original blog post here|
|Original blog post here|
|Vogue 8805, original blog post here|
|Simplicy 1697 (skirt) - original blog post here|
|Muse Natalie - original blog post here|
Here's to kicking 2014
I'm still here, I'm still here! December has flown, January is flying (Happy New Year!), and I'm still behind on life. I've got a couple of posts in the works, but I'm so overdue on picking the winner from the giveaway post that I'm just going to stop and do it.
Congrats to Nursebennett!!
Thursday, January 1, 2015
I'm Debbie Cook. Welcome to my blog. I live and work in Tampa, FL, and I'm Mom to 2 grown sons, one a U.S. Marine and one still living at home. I'm also adopted mom to 2 very cute and very spoiled pooches. I put up with the oppressive Florida humidity and ravenous mosquitos as a trade-off for sunshine and warmth nearly every day of the year.
I love to sew, but I didn't know it until I was more than grown up. My mom and grandmothers sewed my whole life and while I never had real lessons from them, I found out later that I had actually learned a lot just by watching and helping. With these "custom dressmakers" available, I never felt the need to sew for myself or sit in front of my own machine unless I was mending, hemming or sewing on Boy Scout badges.
Fast forward to my late-30s and the sewing bug finally bit and I haven't stopped since. I've sewn almost everything - home dec, quilting, gifts, lingerie & more, but sewing clothes for myself is what I really love and I sew most of my wardrobe because I have fun doing it and because it fits me better than anything I'd find in a store.
I stash fabric and patterns a LOT, and I seem to be collecting vintage sewing machines too. I use everything though, so it's all good, right?
I like to share what goes on in my sewing room and some of what goes on in my enjoyably-boring life. I've been blogging about it all for almost 10 years now.
I try to answer questions and comments when I can, but honestly, I'm pretty bad about it. I'd rather spend my free time in the sewing room or trying new-to-me restaurants. There are just never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do!
email me at dcook100 at gmail dot com and find me on Instagram @stitchesandseamsdeb
Posted by ME around 9:07 AM